Young prospects hopeful ahead of AFLW draft

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 13-Oct-2017

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Bendigo Thunder's Tiahna Cochrane. Photo: Andrew Perryman.
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YOUNG guns Tiahna Cochrane and Reni Hicks will lead the local contingent of AFLW hopefuls into next week’s 2017 draft.

Both tested themselves against the crop of potential draftees at last week’s AFL Women’s combine, including Melbourne Uni star Monique Conti, Diamond Creek spearhead Chloe Molloy and Isabel Huntington.

Cochrane was a joint winner of Bendigo Thunder’s best and fairest award in a premiership season and also won the Northern Football League’s coaches award.

Several Victorian clubs have shown interest in the Castlemaine product, who will most likely play a role in the midfield or in defence.

She fared well in the vertical jump tests and also placed top-10 in the two-kilometre time trial.

Hicks, who played for Diamond Creek as it made a run to the VFL Women’s grand final, also fared well in the vertical jump tests and the smartspeed agility screening.

After playing 2016 with the Thunder, she played primarily as a tagger for the Creekers, including lining up on AFLW stars Daisy Pearce and Darcy Vescio.

The Thunder duo will not be the only draft hopefuls, with Bendigo Pioneer Eden Zanker also a big chance to be selected.

Zanker starred for the Pioneers as well as Woorinen in the Bendigo Junior Football league, winning the best on ground medal in the under-18 girls grand final.

Bendigo experienced surprising success last year with three players drafted – Bella Ayre, Sarah Last (Carlton) and Emma Grant (Collingwood) – while Jess Kennedy and Hayley Trevean were taken as free agents and Jordan Ivey and Elise Strachan featured as top-up players.

Ivey and Strachan would have to be drafted or signed as free agents to find an AFLW home for 2018, while Trevean and Kennedy were both let go by Carlton after a lone season.

The Blues have several spots on their roster and a strong Bendigo flavour despite trading Ayre to Brisbane, having retained Last and signed Thunder and Diamond Creek midfielder Kerryn Harrington.

The 2017 AFLW draft will be held on Wednesday afternoon in Melbourne.

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